Nestled in the peaceful landscapes of Prescott Valle, Rictus Of Rage emerges as a powerful musical entity, born from the collaboration between instrumental virtuoso Mike Masser and the unforgettable vocals of the late Jeff Watson. The band’s name, a fusion of “Rictus” and “Rage,” symbolizes their commitment to crafting music that reflects a twisted grin and untamed fury. Rooted in the heart of the United States, this musical creation draws inspiration from the serene surroundings, where untamed creativity and raw energy define their unique sound.

Influenced by heavyweights like Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Tool, Rictus Of Rage navigates the expansive realms of rock, paying homage to its roots while pushing the boundaries of the genre. The name itself mirrors the band’s dedication to producing music that not only challenges norms but also resonates with a distinctive intensity, capturing the essence of rebellion and macabre tales. Within the realm of Rictus Of Rage, the legacy of their influences intertwines with a bold spirit, forging a path that respects the traditions of rock while making a lasting impression on the musical landscape.


Unveiled on December 6th, 2021, “Variant” stands as Rictus Of Rage’s crowning achievement, a musical journey that transcends conventional boundaries. This album, a manifestation of unwavering creativity and heartfelt emotion, encapsulates the very soul of heavy metal. From the explosive energy of its opening track to the introspective allure of the final notes, “Variant” weaves a sonic tapestry that harmonizes haunting vocals, mind-bending riffs, and thunderous drums. As a testament to the band’s dedication and resilience, this collection of tracks offers a captivating voyage through the heart of rock, leaving an enduring mark on the landscape of heavy metal.

Variant Album Track List:

Rictus Of Rage’s inaugural track, “Sepsis,” from the album “Variant,” is nothing short of a sonic revelation. From the first notes, this heavy metal anthem erupted with an uncontrollable burst of energy, propelling me into an auditory maelstrom that encapsulates the very essence of the genre. The initial calm, marked by the divine strumming of guitars and the astral piano sounds, served as a deceptive prelude to the impending musical storm. At the 1:37 timestamp, a palpable shift occurred, with energetic drumming heralding the imminent climax. By 1:45, the composition was unleashed, presenting one of the most formidable heavy metal rock songs I’ve encountered in quite some time. “Sepsis” crafted a sonic assault demanding attention, weaving distorted guitars, thunderous drums, and a soul-resonating bassline. The deliberate instrumentation created an electrifying experience, drawing inspiration from heavy metal roots while pushing sonic boundaries. Though veiled in mystery, the lyrics of “Sepsis” delve into dark themes and surreal imagery, inviting listeners to decipher the lyrical riddles accompanying the relentless musical onslaught.
No heavy metal odyssey is complete without the electrifying prowess of guitar virtuosos, and “Sepsis” stands as a testament to this truth. The standout feature of the track lies in its mind-bending riffs, intricate solos, and a shredding madness that transcends conventional musical expression. The guitar work acts as a visceral conduit, channeling the raw energy of the song directly into my very core. In the absence of vocal clarity, the enigma deepens, adding an extra layer of mystery to the narrative. The cryptic blend of rebellion, existential contemplation, and macabre elements elevates “Sepsis” beyond a mere heavy metal anthem; it becomes a sonic journey into the unknown, a testament to the relentless spirit of Rictus Of Rage.

I’m The Monster:
Diving into the abyss of “I’m The Monster,” the third track in Rictus Of Rage’s album “Variant,” and immersing myself in a heavy metal anthem that encapsulates the raw power and ferocity inherent in the genre. From the outset, this musical journey unfolds with unconventional allure, marked by the beeping of a heartbeat and the rhythmic ka-ching of a money machine. As the track evolves, “I’m The Monster” unleashes a sonic carnage with blistering guitars, roaring drums, and a bassline that reverberates through the very fabric of heavy metal. The relentless instrumentation creates an auditory landscape mirroring the tumultuous journey of a monstrous entity, commanding attention from the first note to the last.
In the shadowy realm of “I’m The Monster,” the lyrics emerge as enigmatic whispers, barely audible yet laden with darkness. This obscurity adds to the mystique, inviting me to interpret the lyrical narrative through the lens of my own imagination. Themes of monstrosity, rebellion, and existential chaos intertwine in a lyrical symphony that mirrors the sonic disarray. At the core of this monstrous composition lies the percussive havoc that defines and stands out in the song. The drums thunder like the footsteps of a colossal beast, setting the pace for the unruly journey. The rhythmic intensity becomes a driving force that propels the song forward, leaving destruction in its wake.
As I delve into “I’m The Monster,” the resonating power and chaotic elements showcase the essence of heavy metal, making it a standout track in Rictus Of Rage’s “Variant.” The marriage of unconventional sounds, enigmatic lyrics, and percussive mastery crafts a monstrous overture that captivates and commands attention, reinforcing the band’s prowess in navigating the intricate landscape of heavy metal.

Embarking on a sonic pilgrimage within the realms of Rictus Of Rage’s “Variant,” “Heretic” emerges as the sixth track, a masterpiece that defies convention. The journey begins with haunting guitar strumming, setting an enchanting tone before erupting into a cacophony of intense instrumentation. As a listener, the experience is immersive, drawing me into the mystical realm of “Heretic” with a delicate yet foreboding touch. The subtle build-up creates anticipation, and as the prelude fades, the track transforms into an inferno of sound.
In this sonic landscape, guitars, bass, and drums collide in a relentless barrage, mirroring the rebellion of a heretic. The intensity of the instrumentation serves as a sonic manifesto, challenging norms and establishing the song’s rebellious identity. Amidst the chaos, the barely discernible lyrics of “Heretic” lurk in the shadows, weaving a mysterious narrative into the very fabric of the song. The roaring vocals become an instrument of their own, delivering a primal energy that transcends linguistic comprehension. As I immersed myself in the emotive delivery, the essence of the song resonated without the need to decipher the words.
Within this chaotic landscape, “Heretic” finds moments of serenity through guitar shredding solos. The virtuosity displayed is a testament to the genre’s legacy, offering brief respites before plunging back into the tumultuous sea of sound. These moments of sonic virtuosity elevate the overall listening experience, leaving an unforgettable mark on me. “Heretic” stands as a testament to Rictus Of Rage’s ability to challenge musical norms and deliver a powerful, rebellious sonic journey.

Dreams Of Deathbed:
In the final chapters of Rictus Of Rage’s submersive album “Variant,” my pilgrimage culminates in the contemplative embrace of the last track, “Dreams of Deathbed.” This slow-tempo musical journey weaves melancholy melodies with enigmatic whispers, offering a profound and introspective finale. As “Dreams of Deathbed” unfolds, a gentle dance of strings takes center stage, each guitar note played with deliberate slowness and a haunting melody. The deliberate pacing invites me to envelope myself in the nuanced beauty of each note, embracing the emotive resonance of the slow-tempo arrangement.
Accompanying the melancholic guitar tale is a calm percussive cadence that guided me through the contemplative landscape. The soft echo of drums provides a rhythmic heartbeat, enhancing the overall dreamlike quality of the composition. The delicate drumming contributes to the serene atmosphere, creating a space for reflection. Within this ethereal soundscape, whispers emerge from the shadows, their profound mystery barely audible yet deeply impactful. These background voices speak of dreams, memories, and emotions, adding an enigmatic layer to the musical narrative that encourages listeners to lose themselves in the ambiguity.
Intervals in “Dreams of Deathbed” are punctuated by echoes of distant laughter, an unconventional yet intriguing element that disrupts the somber tones. This laughter becomes a reminder that even in the dreamscape, there exists a subtle interplay between melancholy and the surreal. Rictus Of Rage crafts a captivating and multi-dimensional experience in this final chapter, leaving a lasting mark on my contemplative journey through the album “Variant.”

In the intricate fabric of Rictus Of Rage’s “Variant,” each track unfolds as a chapter in a musical journey that goes beyond mere boundaries. From the intense emotions of “Sepsis” to the defiant anthem “I’m The Monster,” and the reflective expedition of “Dreams of Deathbed,” this album is a rollercoaster of feelings, a testament to the unyielding spirit of the band. “Heretic” challenges norms, and every note in “Dreams of Deathbed” carries a poignant depth that leaves a lasting impression on the soul. As I reminisce about my pilgrimage through these tracks, I’m moved by the diversity and sheer brilliance of Rictus Of Rage’s artistry. This album transcends being a mere collection of songs; it’s a journey through evocative landscapes and immersive soundscapes. I wholeheartedly endorse “Variant” to anyone seeking a comprehensive and transformative experience in the realm of heavy metal and rock. Let these musical narratives guide you through an exploration of raw emotion, rebellion, and contemplation—a journey that lingers long after the final note fades away.

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